There is now a trend to reading your kid's bedtime stories on iPods. The kingpin of this idea is a guy named Don Katz who has this vision that technology should meet the Brother's Grimm. In fact I am sure he is right about this theory that more kids would know a little more about culture if only it was a little more high tech in practice. I know this could be true because I have seen how much my own children absolutely adore gadgets â€“ especially their iPods. Of course they are going to want to listen to bed time stories more than they are going to want to read them.
Nearly one third of children who are between six and ten years old regularly take advantage of digital audio plyers. Don Katz has a site called Audible Kids where your kid can easily download their books directly onto digital audio players. It does not seem that this will ever do much for reading. Maybe it will do something for making kids a little more culturally literate.
I have also heard my friends talk about this remarkable phenomenon where you just put headphones on kids, put on the bedtime story and they just fall asleep.
Last year in 2007 Katz says that kid and teen books made up for 13% of all audiobook downloads. He got this figure from the Audio Publishers Association. This is probably a trend that will explode, especially when they find out how easily it can put kids asleep.
On AudibleKids social skills are taught as well. Kids are encouraged to get online and talk about the audio book they just listened with them. There are also teachers and moderators on AudibleKids and sometimes even authors show up on the site.
AudibleKids has a lot of books from the Random House Listening Library. Fisher-Price and Disney are now getting into the game and even manufacture kid-friendly audio players that a kid as young as two years old can manage.
So will a reliance on audio books make a child more reluctant when it comes to learning how to read? Katz says no. He things that starting them off on digital media will encourage a life long love affair with books and prompt them to be more curious about the print form of the story that they listen to digitally.
Movie stars are getting into reading these things in a big way. Tony Shaloub and Gwyneth Paltrow are the voices reading audiobooks right now. Of course they were inspired to do this from reading bedtime stories to their own children.
One thing I am a little wary of is the way that Katz markets these books as being a replacement for the bedtime story that the busy parent would usually read to the child. I don't think I want to be replaced by an iPod.